Stand out from the crowd, even from the middle seat.
Oh, no: 27B. A middle seat all the way to. . . . And the P.A. crackles: “Folks, we’ve got a full flight today.” Few situations make you wish you’d studied harder in school than this one. Fortunately, with a little smart carry-on accessorizing, you can make the most of a long-haul, coach-class, full-flight, sorry-we’re-out-of-ginger-ale ordeal. Herewith, seven smart ways to help you stand out from the crowd, even from 27B.
Impressing the passport control agent at Amsterdam Schiphol won’t be easy, but if anything stands a chance, it’s Neat Leather Company’s handsome Excursion wallet (pictured above). Handcrafted in Columbus, Ohio, the sleeve is made of stiff Hermann Oak vegetable-tanned leather ($60) or supple Horween Dublin Chromexcel hide ($90), stitched together with your choice of eight colors of waxed thread. Inside, there’s a passport slot, two card holders, and a pocket for cash and whatnot.
While TSA rules prohibit drinking your own booze on a flight, a mini travel bar still allows you to bring along nonalcoholic ingredients to, say, spice up a Bloody Mary or dirty-up a standard martini. That said, some airlines and flight attendants are more easygoing than others, and TSA rules do allow you to bring as many 3.4-ounce bottles of liquor “as fit comfortably in one, quart-sized, clear plastic zip-top bag.” The $44 mini bar kit from Flight 001 comes with four small glass bottles, two metal flasks, a funnel, a spoon, and a book of cocktail recipes. And even if your flight attendant is having none of your middle-seat mixers, a cocktail kit is a whole lot more fun than a hotel minibar.
Would Don Draper fumble for a wayward dongle? Would James Bond dig through the overhead compartment to find an iPhone charger? Not a chance, and neither should you. Keeping your essential travel gear handy and easily available can be key to making any trip a relaxing affair—one that shouldn’t leave you shaken or stirred. Knomo London’s smart $79 Fulham Knomad Organiser keeps all your cards, cords, and other travel needs contained within a water-repellent waxed canvas shell.
When fellow flyers in all directions are engrossed in “Candy Crush” or “Fruit Ninja,” outclass them by cracking open the gorgeous Paloma travel backgammon set from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art store. Made in Los Angeles from sustainably harvested Baltic birch, the $130 set ($117 for museum members) features a stylish Wolfrum pattern. If backgammon isn’t your game, there are countless other magnetic travel games that will easily tuck into your onboard luggage.
You might not have time to grab a shower between flights, but a quick spritz of scent can keep you feeling fresh when jetting to your destination. Fill Sixtmoon’s $11 TSA-approved travel spray bottles with your favorite and remove any doubt about getting it through security (or fear of it breaking in your bag and sending coach class into Chanel No. 5 overload).
Checked bags are for chumps. Make the most of your carry-on with pieces from Flight 001’s clever Spacepak bag system (available individually or in sets, from $30 to $110), which not only keeps your clothes, shoes, and toiletries nicely organized, but also looks stylish while doing the job, too. The $46 F1 organizer claims to tame 25 articles of clothing—that’s two weeks’ worth—in a single carry-on bag.
On long flights, getting comfortable isn’t always easy with an itchy airline blanket and the flickering light of some Type-A insomniac’s laptop. Available in gray, black, and natural, this $330 cashmere travel kit contains cozy socks, an eye mask, and a blanket, and the zippered carry case doubles as a plush pillowcase for airline-size pillows.